(Silverstone) Dutchman Max Verstappen (Red Bull) set the fastest time in the first free practice session of the British Grand Prix, round 10 of the Formula 1 World Championship, on Friday at the Silverstone circuit (5.891 kilometres).

The reigning double world champion had quickly taken the lead during this session despite his hard tires, before falling back in the hierarchy. But at the end of the session, he put on soft tires and everyone agreed!

Verstappen was ahead of his Mexican teammate Sergio Pérez and the surprising Thai Alex Albon (Williams) by almost half a second, while the Spanish veteran Fernando Alonso set the fourth fastest time, 668/1000ths behind the undisputed leader of the world championship .

Monegasque Charles Leclerc (Ferrari), second last weekend in Austria, took fifth place, ahead of Frenchman Esteban Ocon (Alpine) and his Spanish teammate Carlos Sainz.

Briton Lando Norris (McLaren), Canadian Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) and Australian Oscar Piastri (McLaren) complete the Top 10 in this first of three free practice sessions held in bright sunshine.

Mercedes were a bit behind on Friday lunchtime as local hero Lewis Hamilton only set 12th, while compatriot and team-mate George Russell finished 14th, just behind Frenchman Pierre Gasly’s second Alpine.

For his return to Silverstone, where he had suffered a very violent exit from the track at the start of the Grand Prix last year, the Chinese Zhou Guanyu (Alfa Romeo) took 18th place.

A second free practice session is scheduled for Friday at 4 p.m. local time.